Hundreds feared dead in Haiti quake
A 7.0-magnitude quake – the biggest recorded in this part of the Caribbean – and the largest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years, has rocked Port-au-Prince.
A huge rescue operation was under way this morning after a powerful earthquake hit Haiti, toppling buildings in the capital Port-au-Prince, burying residents in rubble and sparking tsunami alerts in what is feared to be a major catastrophe.
A 7.0-magnitude quake – the biggest recorded in this part of the Caribbean – and the largest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years, rocked Port-au-Prince last night, collapsing a hospital and sending houses tumbling into ravines. Hundreds are feared to have been killed.
The headquarters of the 9,000-member Haiti peacekeeping mission and other UN installations were seriously damaged, according to Alain Le Roy, the U.N. peacekeeping chief in New York and a large number of personnel remained unaccounted for.
Witnesses reported seeing bodies in the rubble and clouds of dust shrouding the city, but with telephone communications cut the extent of damage was not immediately clear.
“Everything started shaking, people were screaming, houses started collapsing, it’s total chaos,” said Joseph Guyler Delva, a Reuters reporter. “I saw people under the rubble, and people killed. People were screaming ‘Jesus, Jesus’ and running in all directions.”
The scope of the disaster remained unclear early Wednesday, and even a rough estimate of the number of casualties was impossible. But it was clear from a tour of the capital that tens of thousands of people had lost their homes and that many had perished.
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